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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Comic Book Review: Marvels

Writer: Kirk Busiek
Artist: Alex Ross
Issues: 4
Published by Marvel Comics

A tale of how the Marvel Universe came to be, starting in the 1930's with the original Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner, to the 40's with Captain America and his sidekick Bucky, to the forming of the original Avengers and Fantastic Four, finally to the age of mutants in 1979, starting with the world-famous X-Men. Alex Ross (Kingdom Come) and Kurt Busiek (Superman: Secret Identity) gave me more than what I could have asked from a 200-page Marvel comic book. It showcases heroes and villains in one full story through the eyes of Phil Sheldon - an aspiring photojournalist who goes on to witness everything from his bachelor years until he raises his own family.

Seeing these through an everyman's point of view was the perfect storytelling vehicle. Using these classic characters go at it in New York City, Busiek manages to answer the question: What if superpowered beings and mutants were living with us everyday? What would we feel  How would we respond? Will we embrace them with open arms or are we going to turn them away and think of them as threats to our families and our entire world? That was the whole point of the book, to make you feel like you are in the middle of the scene, of all the action as if they were happening at that moment. And Kurt Busiek didn't waste anytime doing just that right from the first few pages with his simple, yet great storytelling and dialogue. 

The X-Men's Archangel

Artistic-wise, Alex Ross proved at the creation of this book that he is one hell of a painter/illustrator. This was the book that literally put him right on the map of the comic book world, with his intricate & classic style of illustrating. He really made this as realistic as it could possibly get, using his friends to pose as models in order for him to create the realism needed for these characters. Of course, Ross would follow this up  later with the DC blockbuster Kingdom Come with Mark Waid, further solidifying his status as the best comic book painter of his era.

Reed Richards' (aka Mr. Fantastic) and Susan Storm's (Invisible Woman) wedding.

It was a great read (and truly so, because the book was a smash-hit when it was released, launching the careers of both Busiek and Ross) and tribute to all the creators of all these characters we all knew  and loved, and so thanks to Ross and Busiek for giving us a classic that would never be duplicated. A definite must read for anybody - old and young, especially for those who are looking for a fresh start with Marvel.

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